Monday 15 April 2024

After eight months in exile: Cardinal Sako returns to his official residence

Patriarch Sako announces move to Kurdistan - Vatican News

After eight months in exile in the Kurdish city of Erbil, Chaldean Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako has returned to his official residence in Baghdad. This was reported by the Arabic news portal Abouna. 

At an official welcome on Thursday, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani emphasised the importance of Sako's presence and his role.

The head of Iraq's largest Christian church, with around half a million members, had arrived at the capital's airport the previous evening. He had left Baghdad in August after Sunni President Abdul Latif Rashid withdrew his state recognition as head of the church

During his meeting with the Patriarch, Prime Minister Al-Sudani emphasised the government's efforts to consolidate the principle of coexistence and brotherhood within Iraqi society as a whole. This is the key to progress, prosperity and an improvement in the social situation for all Iraqis. 

He expressly referred to the "historical role of the Iraqi Christian component and its contribution to building the state and strengthening its pillars". 

The country is strong and is characterised by its diverse denominations. 

Patriarch Sako, for his part, congratulated the head of government on the Muslim festival of breaking the fast, Abouna said.

The Chaldean Patriarchate in Baghdad recognised Al-Sudani's initiative. 

The invitation was "a good omen and a first step on a journey of a thousand miles", according to the patriarchate's website. 

However, mistakes that have been made must be corrected for successful cooperation. 

Above all, the Patriarchate takes offence at the actions of the Iraqi presidential office. 

The central demand is that Cardinal Sako must be recognised as the head of the church again. 

In general, Christians in Iraq must be fully involved in socio-political life.